Sunday 24 September 2023

September 1983 - Marvel UK monthlies, 40 years ago this month.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

September 1983 was the month you almost died.

Granted, it was also the month I almost died, which is even worse.

That's because it produced the most alarming incident in human history, as the Soviet Union's defenses detected a whole bucketload of American nuclear missiles headed straight for it.

Fortunately, military officer Stanislav Petrov averted a worldwide catastrophe by recognising it as a false alarm and not pressing the button that was, no doubt, labelled, "Retaliate."

Thanks to that man, we could still continue to enjoy the latest platters that mattered. And that was good news for UB40, as they kicked off the month atop the UK singles chart, thanks to their cover of Red Red Wine. However, that was soon deposed by Culture Club's Karma Chameleon.

I have heard a theory that the latter single reaching the peak of the charts was a watershed moment in music history, as it was, allegedly, the last time the UK had a Number One that everyone in the family, from the youngest toddler to the oldest granny, could enjoy.

Whether that claim is true or not, I couldn't say. Mostly because, to confirm or deny it, I'd have to listen to every UK Number One that's existed since then, and that's taking in-depth research a bit too far.

Over on the British album chart, the roost, that September, was initially ruled by The Very Best of the Beach Boys before Paul Young's No Parlez took over. That was then supplanted by UB40's Labour of Love, making it a good month for Birmingham's Snooze Reggae specialists.

Starburst #61, Revenge of the Jedi

Ooh! I had this issue! I remember the printing not being lined up properly on several pages.

That aside, it supplies interviews with Carrie Fisher, Stephen King, Dario Argento and Lou Ferrigno.

And, because we demand even more than that from our magazines, this issue takes a look at the making of the helicopter thrill-fest that is Blue Thunder.

The Savage Sword of Conan #71

I don't know anything about the contents of this issue, other than it features tales of savagery from the Hyborean Age, and sword and sorcery at its greatest. I know that because the cover tells me so.

I do know that's a strangely relaxed-looking fight Conan's having with that snake.

The Mighty World of Marvel #4, Magneto

Mighty World of Marvel is practically an X-Men enclave, these days. This issue's lead tale features the main team when D'Spayre starts to mess about with Cyclops' mind.

While, in the backup strip, the Vision and Scarlet Witch are visiting the Inhumans, in order to meet Pietro's new daughter. And who should show up?

Only Magneto!

And he's claiming to be Wanda and Pietro's father!

Doctor Who Magazine #80, Tom Baker

It's exciting news for us all, as the mag dedicated to the universe's most popular Time Lord previews The Five Doctors, the movie-length masterpiece constructed to celebrate his show's upcoming 20th anniversary. We can console ourselves that, while that special may not turn out to be perfect, at least it's not a crossover with Eastenders.

The Daredevils #9, the Kingpin

It may be called The Daredevis but the comic leads off with Captain Britain, as Merlyn and Roma watch with concern while Jim Jaspers begins his campaign to eradicate all superheroes.

Meanwhile, our protagonist tries to convince Captain UK to resume the super-doing duties she's currently too scared to undertake.

And that's when the Fury shows up.

Elsewhere, Pete Scott discusses the pulp roots of Night Raven, Frank Plowright produces an article on Knockabout Comics's legal problems, and Alan Moore reviews the fanzines Energy #1 and Cygnus Alpha #8.

Back in the hot world of crime fighting, Night Raven finds himself in Episode 3 of an adventure called The Snow Queen.

And we complete the issue with Matt Murdock about to encounter a woman called Elektra.


Colin Jones said...

Karma Chameleon stayed at #1 for 6 weeks and was then replaced by Billy Joel's Uptown Girl for 5 weeks and then Only You by the Flying Pickets for another 5 weeks - surely both of those songs could also be enjoyed by all the family, couldn't they? And what about Band Aid a year later? Everyone liked Band Aid!

Colin Jones said...

Looking at the Conan cover it occurs to me that Conan never had any tattoos. Wouldn't a barbarian from the wild northlands probably have some tattoos?

Anonymous said...

This month's Daredevils is a cracker. Captain Britain was on top form and the background material (fanzine reviews etc) were all on point. Plus the first Elektra reprint. Happy days.

Colin, yes you'd think Conan would, at least, have the name of a fleeting holiday fling etched onto his bicep. Didn't Slaine have some ink?

This was the height of the safe and cuddly Boy George. Even my nan liked him, with his preference for a cup of tea over sex.


Anonymous said...

At my high school, 'Uptown Girl' was a skit/musical number, in the annual teachers' play. Unfortunately, one 5th former shouted obscenities at the teachers on stage, resulting in a collective punishment, for the entire school. All the pupils - the vast majority innocent - were forced to stand up, in our school hall, for a very long period of time. This resulted in several pupils fainting. Not an edifying spectacle! For 1983, that's an abiding school memory of mine.

Daredevil's kick looks puny, delivered by a spindly leg. Nevertheless, full marks for DD being left-handed - or, rather - left-legged! Matt's billy club ricocheting like Captain America's shield, and returning to him, seems unlikely - but it is fully consistent with established Daredevil lore.


Anonymous said...

Slightly odd anatomy aside, its good to see an actual original cover drawing on Daredevils for a change. Hand coloured by the artist too, it looks like. A bit surprising it features the Kingpin though - you'd think Elektra would be a more obvious choice (but perhaps Marvel UK deserve a bit of credit for not putting a half naked chick on the cover, even though the opportunity presented itself?)

Agree with DW about Daredevis... uh, Daredevils #9 (sorry Steve, sometimes I can't help myself). The Captain Brexit episode was a particularly good one, with that striking panel of Betsy Braddock's psychic vision of a future death camp. It was impressive the way Moore took a left turn from the previous somewhat whimsical tone into darker territory without missing a beat. And at the same time moving various storylines forward, with Jim Jaspers, Merlin, and STRIKE/the Vixen.
Although that last one didn't end up going anywhere... Btw, anyone know if the Vixen had appeared before? Back in '83 I assumed she was a villain from some earlier iteration of CB, like Slaymaster, but now I'm not so sure. DW, Phillip, you're old skool Captain Brexit fans - any idea?

Also, well done Marvel UK on the Knockabout feature. They were doing regular stuff like that in Daredevils, but in the case of Knockabout it could really have back-fired on them, what with the Freak Brothers association and the obscene publications bust only the previous year.


Anonymous said...

Sean - I'm scratching my head. The only original Captain Britain villainess who immediately springs to mind was a female computer hologram, during the Friedrich era.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Phillip. I just looked up the Vixen online - which I should really have done before commenting! - and apparently that is actually her first appearance in Daredevil #9. And she later turned up in the CB monthly and Excalibur.
The Marvel fan wiki also implies that storyline was developed,with the takeover of STRIKE being part of Jim Jaspers' takeover. Arguable, I'd say.

Steve, I looked up the charts for this week, and the best record in either is definitely Malcolm McLaren's 'Duck Rock' lp. He invented scratching on records! After er... seeing other people do it in New York.
I guess that's why his own work is so underestimated, because of the perception that he's just taking stuff other people's stuff - the (then) new hip-hop style, Dominican street music, South African mbaqanga - and using someone else's production and musical skills to do it. But if thats so easy, why were there no other records like that back then?

Actually, as it happens the people he used to make 'Duck Rock' - Trevor Horn and the session types who became the Art of Noise - put their own record out this month, 'Into Battle with the Art of Noise'. Which (I think?) was the first ZTT release, just beating out Frankie's 'Relax' which came out in October.
For all their skills, I don't think they did that kind of thing as well without Malcolm.

The best new record this month was obviously Tom Waits' 'Swordfishtrombones'.


Anonymous said...

*just taking other people's stuff
Duh. Apologies for some poor editing there


Matthew McKinnon said...

I also had that Starburst! I can't remember a thing about it as I don't think I ever read it properly. I've just given a load to charity and I think it was probably amongst those, so it's lost forever now.

For some reason, my memory has that issue of Daredevils accompanying me on a train journey that occurred a month or so earlier. Could it be that the cover dates are a month early and they actually come out in August? In order for them to sit on the shelves a bit longer? Great issue, though. It's the chapter of Captain Britain with the chess game and the square panels, is it not?

Did anyone else used to visit the basement section of the Notting Hill Record & Tape exchange in the late 1990s? They had the Wall Of No Parlez. So much 80s vinyl was flooding into the store, and No Parlez had no resale value whatsoever, so they created an entire wall of copies of the sleeve. It was majestic.

Paul Young used to live up the road from me - I don't know if he still does.

Sean - you are incorrect about Art Of Noise. Their ZTT records were magnificent, and far outshone their work on the patchy Duck Rock. And with McLaren, you have to factor in his other, noticeably crappier records like 'Fans' and all that vogueing stuff. He was the weakest link in all his projects.

Anonymous said...

The Vixen was mentioned in Captain Britain weekly nos. 3 and 8 (at least), but doesn't actually appear. The goons in those issues mention working for the Vixen, who at that stage was not known. I recall (but haven't checked) that it was the Vixen who engaged Arcade to kill CB in Marvel Team up. However, that may have been retrofitted as this Vixen thinks its Arcade on the phone, when Jaspers calls her, in this issue.

Matthew, yes this is the chapter featuring the chess board and jacuzzi. Particularly impressive artwork at the time, which elevated Davis beyond the majority of his US contemporaries.

I think this cover was David re-illustrating a fan version, as a competition prize.


Anonymous said...

DW - Yes, that's right! How did I forget it? The goons did reference working for the Vixen! It was in Christmas Day 1977's Captain Britain Annual 1978!

Matthew - Wherever Paul Young lays his hat, that's his home! (Where's my coat?)


Steve W. said...

Phillip, what if Paul Young lays his hat on a hat rack? Does that hat rack become his home? How does that work?

Matthew, I think it's highly likely that the Marvel mags appeared on the shelves a month earlier than their cover date.

Sean, I would say my favourite tracks on this week's chart from 1983 were Chance by Big Country, They Don't Know by Tracy Ullman and I'm Still Standing by Elton.

Colin, I must confess that I didn't like Band Aid. The song, that is. The concept behind it was fine.

Anonymous said...

Steve - Laying a hat brings to mind the hat being flat, on a surface. Were a hat rack in contention, Paul would have said, "Wherever I HANG my hat, that's my home." Then again, maybe his hat's with all the misplaced coats, from inappropriate comments, leaving people having to excuse themselves to find said garments!


Anonymous said...

Steve, I think that must be right about the monthlies appearing in August, as Daredevils #9 has a house ad for that year's Summer Specials. There's six of 'em - MWOM, Spidey, Channel 33 1/3, Star Wars, Dr Who, and the Spidey Fun-Book.
I shall expect to see them added to the post soon ;)

Re: the Vixen. Probably Moore used a character name that had been floating around as a dangling plot thread in Daredevils #9? Fwiw, I'm fairly sure any mention of her in MTU is a later addition.
Anyway, I was just reporting what the Marvel wiki said about the Vixen so don't blame me if its wrong.

I do take full responsibility for the McLaren/Art of Noise remark though.
Matthew, we'll have to agree to disagree there, as I like a lot McLaren's stuff, including 'Deep in Vogue' - hey, it features Bootsy Collins! On the other hand, the Art of Noise were a bit of a mixed bag for me, and seemed like the weak link (relatively speaking) in the original ZTT set up next to Propaganda and Frankie. Just an opinion - your mileage may well vary.

Btw, was it you that mentioned 4AD here a while back? Seems the 'Song to the Siren' single by This Mortal Coil came out this month...


Matthew McKinnon said...


It probably was me talking about 4AD. It was a favourite label.
I didn’t get into it until 1986, but it was through This Mortal Coil - I picked up ‘Filigree & Shadow’ on a whim and was absolutely captivated. Their first album ‘It’ll End In Tears’ was the next thing in got. That one has ‘Song To The Siren’ on it.

By an odd coincidence I’ve just been re-reading the 80s chapters of ‘Facing The Wrong Way’ covering all that stuff.

Have to agree to disagree on ZTT hierarchy: for me Frankie were only really a couple of songs, Propaganda were good but never lived up to the promise of ‘Dr Mabuse’, but the Art Of Noise were the real deal. Timelessly futuristic and freaky.

Anonymous said...

I saw two of those Dr. Mabuse movies on Turner Classic Movies. Yikes.
They kinda stay with ya. A tiny portion of my brain is now being used to store those films in my memory, and I can't change that.
Germans. Not all sunshine and happiness, apparently.

Regarding that Conan cover, Steve, that's not a terribly big snake (by Hyborian standards) Conan is wrestling there. At least not compared to Satha, the Old One, who could swallow a guy whole.
So I don't see Conan getting very excited at this point; just another day at the office for him.


Anonymous said...

Apparently Hyboreanis spelt with an 'e' now, M.P. (no, I didn't know that either). It is a bit of a feeble snake on that cover, isn't it?

Matthew, thats a fair point about Propaganda and Frankie, but I'd say it was also true of the Art of Noise (lack of follow through being something of a ZTT trademark). Like, I don't think I've listened to anything by AoN apart from the 'Moments in Love' 12" in decades...
So you know what? I will go back and listen to a bit more of their stuff, and see if I think any differently now.


Anonymous said...

What about the Art of Noise's collaboration with Tom Jones?

I'll get my coat...


Matthew McKinnon said...

Philip -

Nothing was more disappointing to me than the direction the Art Of Noise took when they left ZTT.
I liked their first single Legs even though it was almost self-parody, but thereafter - collaborations with Duane Eddy, Max Headroom, Tom Jones. Make it stop.